BOTHELL, WA, USA U.S. Marines 1STLT, CLB-37, 3D MLG, (ARSIC-CENTRAL), OKINAWA, JAPAN BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN 09/09/2008
Nicholas A. Madrazo told his family about the joy he found in giving candy to Afghan children. Later, after learning about the lack of dental care, he worried about the children getting cavities and started giving them pens, pencils and paper.
“He cared about the people there,” said Jenny Madrazo, his mother. “The kids were really excited to see Nic.”
Madrazo, 25, of Bothell, Wash., was killed Sept. 9 by a roadside bomb in Parwan province. He was a 2001 high school graduate and was assigned to Okinawa, Japan.
He played soccer in high school and received a degree in business from Seattle Pacific University in 2005. On the soccer field, he was known as a tough competitor.
“He was aggressive, but always kept his smile on the field,” said William Frankhouser, a classmate. “He was the guy who was always friendly and smiling and willing to befriend anyone.”
Madrazo was a great listener and a good friend, said Beth Flansburg, a friend. “He wanted to make things better for people,” she said. He lived to tell jokes and impersonate movie stars.
“Nic loved what he was doing,” his uncle, Oliver Feeback, said Thursday. “He believed in what he was doing, and Nic gave the ultimate sacrifice for his family, friends and his country.”
As a tribute, fellow Marines and others in his military family lined the streets of Bagram Air Base as Madrazo’s body was taken to a transport plane for the long flight back to the States. Madrazo’s commanding officer told his mother by phone that Marines stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghan troops, French soldiers and local Afghans who had come to know the Bothell man. The hymn “Amazing Grace” was played.
“It was a very powerful send-off,” said Jenny Madrazo, his mother.
Madrazo, a first lieutenant, was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan. On Thursday, his brothers, sister, cousins and many friends joined his parents in the living room of their Bothell home to share stories.
He played soccer at Bothell High School and received a degree in business from Seattle Pacific University. Madrazo volunteered to go to Afghanistan as part of his conviction that Marines help their comrades, his mother said.
“He wanted to go. He wanted to serve that way,” she said.
He arrived in Afghanistan in March and his work included training Afghan troops, said his father, Joel Madrazo. In addition to patrolling villages looking for Taliban insurgents, Madrazo also worked on development projects, building roads and helping villagers.
“He saw the other side of being a soldier,” Joel Madrazo said.
For now, his family is taking comfort in their faith in Jesus and their belief that Madrazo is in a better place.
“He’s in Heaven,” Feeback, his uncle, said. “We will see him again there.”